FOLSOM -- Alison Powers had been waiting for a breakthrough in the individual time trial for six years.
It happened Monday on a 12.6-mile course near the American River when Powers won the women's race at the Amgen Tour of California. The cyclist for UnitedHealthcare won in 27 minutes 20.65 seconds on a warm day east of Sacramento. Optium Pro Cycling's Brianna Walle was second in 27.41.94 with Taylor Wiles of Specialized-lulemon third in 27.45.99.
Evelyn Stevens of Specialized was fourth after winning a steep time trial last year in east San Jose. Specialized's Carmen Small, who won the one-hour circuit race Sunday in Sacramento, took seventh among the 20 invitees.
The women enjoyed testing their legs before the U.S. road race and time trial championships May 22-26 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Having two races in conjunction with the Tour of California gave them an opportunity for high-pressure racing ahead of the championships.
Powers, 35, hopes the triumph Monday bodes well for Tennessee. She found a course to her liking, which led to a victory six years after winning her U.S. time trial title.
"It has been a long wait," she said. "This is a big confidence booster."
Powers, of Pinecliff, Colorado, felt she had a chance to do well Monday because of the course layout offered long, fast downhills and short uphills. Powers had the best split at the halfway mark and carried it home.
"I'm a little bigger and can carry some speed," said Powers, the defending U.S. criterium champion. "I prefer races 20 to 30 minutes. The longer ones just require more suffering."
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.